After playing to around 80 people at Melbourne’s Bennett’s Lane jazz club on Monday night – in what was a genuinely “secret” secret show – US megastar Prince decided to close out his Australian tour with one final tour afterparty at Melbourne’s Hi-Fi Bar. The instructions were clear (and completely ignored by all): $25 on the door, no one lining up prior to 11pm, doors open at midnight.
Arriving at 10:20pm, the line snaking from the Hi-Fi’s velvet rope was already around the corner into Collins St, and some 90 minutes later it was back to Elizabeth Street. Rough estimates by those in the crowd put that at over 5000 people trying to get into a venue expected to take in around 700. Undeterred, few left the line as the first dribble of punters were let in.
No photos from Prince tonight, but a killer show deserves, at least, a few lines written about it.
After Prince’s first Australian shows in 8 years had finished up in Sydney, and the reviews were hitting the press, it was interesting to read a mixed bag of amazement, bewilderment, and at times criticism.
One of the main charges levelled at Prince, the 2012 edition, is that his show was ‘self indulgent’ . To head to a Prince show and expect anything less is like turning up to a Britney Spears show only to be shocked that she actually mimes. With no support act, the sold out Rod Laver Arena crowd sprung into action when the rolling 80s videos on the overhead screens stopped and purple thunderstorms crackled into action.
In the centre of the self styled ‘Love Symbol’ shaped stage, guitarist Andy McKee delivered an acoustic instrumental version of Purple Rain which captivated the crowd, before returning to beneath the stage. Replacing McKee on the stage was the man himself, his (rather generously credited) 5’2” frame, accentuated by customary stillettos received the reception you’d expect, and ripping straight into Gold the little man with the big back catalogue brought the funk.
Flanked by his NPG backing singers, and backed by an incredible band, Prince announced Melbourne was about the witness the Jam of the Year, and delivering the song of the same name it was difficult to argue.
Having reportedly rehearsed over 100 songs for the tour, it was still the ubiquitous Prince hits that kept the crowd on their feet. Let’s go Crazy, 1999, Delirious, Little Red Corvette and Raspberry Beret all featured in the first half of the show, but it was the middle block of songs: Cream, Cool and Sometimes It Snows in April that would prove the night’s highlight. Without a planned setlist as such, Prince’s live show suffers at times from peaks and troughs – there’s no gradual change of gear but rather immediate tempo and energy swings. The almost 5 minute long single note intro to Love They Will Be Done, where Prince takes up the bass guitar duties, is tedious – though the song made famous by Martika in the 1980s delivers on all fronts once it’s allowed to kick in. (more…)